It was good to be back in Maine.
New York seems to wash my soul in the blackness of a thousand midnights. Even after a few days, I just feel exhausted from anything more than a layover there. You know when you are ready to leave, even if the welcome mat is still on the doorstep.
Maine is a good cleanse. The fresh air, the trees and the ocean. If only the ocean wasn't so bone-numblingly cold, it would serve me well.
I crave the simplicity of life here. I left because there were few opportunities, and I think that is probably still the case outside the bustling metropolis of Portland as I end up doing basically the same thing every year that I return for those brief summertime weeks:
Daily doggie walks, bike rides down a winding road to the beach, sand and sky and surf, corn on the cob from the farmstand down the road, cheap and plentiful lobster. I gussy up the gardens and usually put a tent out in the back yard and sleep out there if the weather is nice.
The simple pleasures are best.
I always have to carefully remind myself that yes, there is a winter time here, and holy hell it is brutal. Spending a week or two in July and August will have you dreamily ignoring the much earlier memories of ice storms and blisters on your hands from the snow shovel of yore, and it becomes more and more distant a memory the more summers spent lazing on a beach.
Speaking of which, even though it was far from hot during my time here, I felt like I really deserved all that time of being an unmoving lump on the sand. I probably haven't been someplace where I've just done nothing but sit around and read a book, well, since last summer when I was here. I'd barely have the energy to pour myself a glass of wine in the afternoon once the laziness took charge. It was fantastic. Even if I have to wear a hoodie and yoga pants while sunbathing, I instantly fall into a trance at the beach. The Siren's call is a lullaby to me apparently.
One afternoon, the fog was so thick at the shoreline that we almost gave up then and there and turned around, but I insisted. BEACH.
Even without the sun, it's just so lovely.
I was only home for a couple days before we headed up north to visit family. Those couple of beach days stay with me all year though.
My last day there it even got hot enough for a brave swim in the Atlantic. It's so cruel: the water looks so beautiful and blue and full of playful waves, but a quick dip and instantly your lips turn blue and you feel plenty cooled off. The ever-warming gulf stream veers offshore at arm of Cape Cod, not to return its warmth until Nova Scotia. The waters of the Gulf of Maine are perpetually chilly.
The first summer I spent in New York, penniless and clueless, and I headed out to Coney Island as I heard there was a beach there. I went down to the water, and despite it being early in the summer, the water was warm enough for even the wimpiest of beach-goers had no problem with a quick dunk. I had no clue that ocean water could actually be warm enough to tolerate. I remember calling my mom that night and informing her that the water here (though filthy) was warm enough to go in and stay in without a wetsuit on for more than a few minutes. New York City was pretty much in a tropical paradise as far as I could tell.
My need to go go go and see see see here becomes non existent. I feel like every time I have a chance to travel and see something new, I take full advantage and I'm running myself to pleasant exhaustion to experience all that I can. But here?
Nope. I can't be bothered. It hasn't changed so much since my last trip here that I feel the need to do it again. I have about a 5-mile radius that I'm happy to hit, and that's about my range. This is the one place where I can relax and not feel like I have to do anything at all.
I keep coming back.
I probably always will.